If you have been out on the trail for an extended period and your mat is looking less-than-pristine, or if one of your backpacking companions spilled hot chocolate on your sleeping mat, here's how to clean it:
Sleeping Mats should not be washed in a top-loader washing machine.
- In the case of a self-inflating mat, the foam core would soak up water and be very difficult to dry.
- In the case of an air mat, the Thermolite insulation could be damaged by the mechanical action of the impeller / agitator.
The best way to clean a sleeping mat is to
- lay the mat flat on the floor (or a clean work surface) and close the valve
- wipe the mat down with a sponge using warm water and a mild solution of dishwashing soap.
- once the mat is clean, make sure to rinse it thoroughly (if you're able to do this outside, simply hosing down the mat after washing it will rinse it very effectively).
Make sure the mat is completely dry before you put it away for long-term storage (a damp mat may grow mold on its outer surface).
Do not put the mat in a dryer; air-drying is recommended.
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